Activities and things to do

Bala Lake view

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Bala, a town steeped in history, was founded by Royal Charter around 1310 by Roger de Mortimer in order to tame the rebellious Penllyn  District populace. (Penllyn translates to "top" or "head" of the lake). Llyn Tegid (sometimes known as Bala Lake) is the largest natural lake in Wales and also is home to the unique fish called the Gwyniad, a kind of land-locked herring. Full information can be found on the Fishing in Wales website.

One wide main street, High Street where the original markets were held, and two back lanes, one named Arenig Street and the other Plase Street continuing into Mount Street, were attached to the old Tomen. Tomen y Bala is a typical large Norman castle mound or "motte" located at one end of the town. It is now an attractive public garden. From it's summit the visitor can enjoy extensive views of Llyn Tegid (Lake Bala) and the mountains beyond.

There are links with early American history when several of the oppressed Quakers (Friends) left Bala & Penllyn to make a new life in America. There is a Quaker museum in nearby Dolgellau at the Information Centre, Eldon Square, Dolgellau. See the video of the history of Quakerism in the area and emigration to Pennsylvania, the local tapestry and copies of central documents. Use the touch screens to learn more.



Bala is an attractive and lively historic market town within the boundaries of Snowdonia National Park (designated an area of outstanding natural beauty) straddling the A494 Dolgellau road. It is ideally situated for touring North and Mid Wales. One would have difficulty finding a location as well situated as the Bala area. It is within an hour's spectacular drive of most of the coastal resorts of Mid and North Wales, not to mention the innumerable beauty spots and magnificent views within the interior of this beautiful region.

There are interesting shops, inns, restaurants and an intriguing historical Town Walk. Bala boasts itís own lake - Bala Lake or Llyn Tegid, the largest natural lake in Wales, alongside which runs a charming narrow-gauge steam railway. Llyn Tegid is the home of a unique fish, the Gwyniad (that's for real, not a legend) which is said to date back to the Ice-Age.

Culture & the Welsh Language

Bala and the surrounding Penllyn region is probably the best region in the whole of Wales to hear the Welsh language being spoken. It is the first language of around 80% of the 2000 or so population. The region is steeped in Welsh history and culture. You can visit the famous male voice choirs at their rehearsals - it will set the hairs on the back of your neck tingling - guaranteed! This is probably one of the few places in the World where teaching the harp is part of the school curriculum.